New glass bottles lighten the load

Last updated 09:16 28/03/2013
O - I wine bottle selection

LIGHTWEIGHT OPTION: The O-I wine bottle selection

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A few days ago we received news that New Zealand Vineyard Estates, producers of Mud House and Waipara Hills wines, have partnered with O-I Glass and are using a new lightweight 407-gram glass bottle.

The first wine NZVE is releasing in this new bottle is Mud House 2012 Chardonnay.

Lightweight glass bottles are a great idea for many reasons, not least because our respective recycling bins are heavy beasts. We need Arnold Schwarzenegger biceps and triceps in order to move them from the garage to a vehicle.

The trip into town with a load of recycling always makes us wonder if the residents of the Wairau and Waihopai valleys are actually achieving anything in terms of environmental sustainability. By the time we've chugged into town we've emitted CO 2 into the atmosphere and used up precious fossil fuels in order to stop filling our waste bins with extra landfill.

A recycling collection point in Renwick would do wonders for recycling in the valley. People living in the upper Wairau and Waihopai valleys would cut time spent in vehicles, reduce waste to landfill and ultimately reduce negative environmental impacts created by rubbish.

Back to the NZVE move and the fact that this company is reducing its environmental impact by reducing overall glass use. The lighter weight means cases of wine are transported more efficiently while there are also health and safety benefits when it comes to lifting.

The new bottle is about 10 per cent lighter than the previous design and here's where the numbers get interesting - there's a total weight reduction of up to half a tonne per container of wine exported.

Lightweight bottles will soon be used across all NZVE brands and these will be on retailers' shelves within a few weeks.

All of which brings us to glass and its attributes. The O-I website tells us that glass containers have a lower carbon footprint than PET plastic. Glass is also special due to its natural makeup - being basically sand and limestone, it is infinitely recyclable.

Reused glass can also help the planet - refillable glass bottles can be used an average of 30 times and these have an even smaller carbon footprint. We realise it all comes down to presentation when considering refillable bottles - few people would want to arrive at a restaurant to be presented at table with a wine in a scratched, obviously used bottle.

However, in Latin America and Western Europe, refillable bottles of various types represent more than 60 and 35 per cent of the market respectively.

All of which had us thinking about Peter Yealands' Full Circle sauvignon blanc which went onto supermarket shelves in 2009. While this move was innovative in New Zealand, Wolf Blass (Australia) and British supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury's were also marketing wine in plastic bottles.

Mr Yealands said the change to plastic was part of the winery's environmental drive. He also pointed out that plastic was a greener container than glass, using 19 per cent less energy to manufacture. It would appear that glass manufacturers didn't take that observation lying down if what is reported regarding glass versus PET is accurate.

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While plastic is a great lightweight option for "drink early" wines like sauvignon blanc and is safer for transport on boats and to picnics, glass is the superior package.

Glass is inert, it doesn't change or taint food or beverages.

There's also the issue of chemicals from some plastic containers leaching into the food or drink stored in them.

And finally, glass will always be heavier than plastic so our recycling will help us gain and retain body strength. Drink well, lift well, and stay well?

Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011 ($29.95)

Floral aromatics, some savoury, leesy notes, classic pear and soft caramel in the aroma.

The smooth, textural palate delivers beautiful fruit expression. Weighty, well-balanced with plenty of pear, ripe apple and nectarine flavour mid-palate, the finish has some sultana and cinnamon richness and there's a wee smack of residual sugar - just enough to enhance the fruit intensity.

Another beauty from this consistently excellent label.

Bracken's Order Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 ($29)

Deep crimson, slightly opaque with a red berryfruit and spice aroma fleshed out by dry red barrel notes and a hint of violets.

The palate is lighter in style than previous vintages but we suspect this is just a matter of age - the wine's still a baby. Red berryfruit, cherry, earth and spice flavours combine with crisp herbal notes while the finish is warming, spicy and a little savoury. One that can be enjoyed now or cellared for later.

Seifried Nelson Winemaker's Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling 2011 ($25)

Bright yellow gold with a honey, lemon and honeysuckle aroma and the merest hint of minera - this will be kerosene-like in a couple of years.

The silky palate delivers lemon tingle and honey, caramel and gentle kerosene notes. The finish is crisp with enough spiciness, honey and caramel sweetness to confirm the fact - here's heaven in a glass.

- The Marlborough Express


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